Amazing Long-Range Shot: 4,000 meters

That’s roughly 2 1/2 miles. Now, a few caveats are in order: the shooters had considerable equipment, they were shooting at a target larger than man-sized, and they had one hit (#3, they’re pretty sure) out of four shots at that range. Still, that shot is amazing. 

Rifle that took the shot. Sako TRG, Hensoldt scope. Orange rectangle is LabRadar.

Rifle that took the shot. Sako TRG, Hensoldt scope. Orange rectangle is LabRadar.

Erik B at The Firearm Blog has a long report and, if you’re interested in LR shooting, it’s incumbent on you to Read The Whole Thing™.  A tiny taste of his 3k-plus word report (which seems to be first hand by the shooters, and is much more detailed than the write-up on their Facebook Page). They started at 100 m to establish zero:

375 Cheytac zero was done with five shots. Scope turret bottomed to zero, impact was 26.8 mrads high. Last two after windage adjustment were very close each other. This elevation was used as base for further calculations, as zero POI offset value in ballistic application. Just before shooting started, I found out that my bubble level was sitting on table back home. This was serious setback. During both zeroing and shooting, reticle and rifle must be in absolute vertical level. This was difficult, as there wasn’t horizon reference visible. Velocities were compared constantly, with each and every shot.

Then to 1000 m to confirm zero. Then to 3000 m. They ran into problems with ranging binoculars (Steiner & Vextronix) “stalling out.”

Shot count was 15 when we got everything finally sorted and good hit on target. Good meaning that everything matched. That particular shot MV (MV = bullet muzzle velocity) was same we used on ballistic software and actual elevation adjustment matched perfectly to QTU firing solution on same time. Also most importantly and with that particular shot, I knew shot was good. As mentioned, maintaining readiness and bubble where it should to fire in 1-2 seconds after permission from ballistician-on-duty was extremely cumbersome thing to do.

Consistent muzzle velocity is key. Their loads were within a small range, but a 1 m/sec change in muzzle velocity causes an 80 cm vertical shift in impact point — meaning 1 fps change alters that impact point almost 10″ in the same direction. So you see that firing at 4000 meters is really at the ragged edge of what’s possible with field-employable sniper-type equipment, in 2016. At 4000 m:

[T]arget was fine-positioned and checked for clear line of sight, and first time I realized how long distance it actually was. It was far, ridiculously far. Very hard to even see with bare eye, but surprisingly still ok visible with 3.7x (or so) magnification. Target was ok, and we received permission to shoot.

Third, or possibly, fourth, shot was heard to connect by a forward observer.

finnaccuracy_gunshot

Yeah, it’s not people-shooting precise (or hunting practical) yet, but the journey of a thousand miles (or 4,000 meters) begins with a single step.

The guys behind the shot are the Finnish precision-shooting shop and school, FinnAccuracy. They report on the conditions of the shot on their FB page:

Athmosperic conditions, Vaisala + Kestrel used:
– 22C / 71.6F. RH 78%. 996mbar / 29.41 inHg
– Worth mentioning also Labradar velocity radar. It worked like a charm and really eased things up during actual shooting. Precise MV knowledge is everything with such a long flight times.
– Bullet flight time to 4000m = 11.2 seconds. Gyroscopic spin drift + Coriolis effect only shift bullet approximately 8 meters / 9yds at 4km distance.
– Ballistic calculations done with Quick Target Unlimited

The reason that they think #3 was the money shot is because its MV was closest to their calculated value. #4, the other possibility, had a slightly higher MV on the radar, which they think put the round over the target. They have high confidence in the Canadian-developed LabRadar, which claims a 0.1% accuracy.

Stay tuned – we might have someting in mind for future too.

They were only half way through their planned range session when they scored the 4,005 m shot, and they have extensive manufacturer support from Sako (maker of the gun) and Lapua (whose Scenar bullets they used in .375 Chey-Tac handloads). They had previously said they have further ambitions in long range shooting, but…

It hs been a long way and we would like to do more like this- but we also have optics/accessory business to run. 

It’s true that a shooter 2½ miles out is not out of the reach of an enemy’s organic weaponry (mortars, artillery, tank main guns) but his signature even in the open is going to go unmarked by people in his target area. While this is a long way from being a practical sniping distance, at this time, when FinnAccuracy started off they were connecting at 2,000 m with .338 Lapua Magnum and that was a long way from being a practical sniping distance, then.

21 thoughts on “Amazing Long-Range Shot: 4,000 meters

  1. Alan Ward

    You know you’re shooting LR when a factor in your BDC is the rotation of the earth and its curvature.
    Really neat post. Gives me a goal for when I push past 500 metres.

    1. Miles

      Actually the Gyroscopic and Coriolis Effect drifts mentioned are of the bullet as it’s bebopping downrange.

  2. looserounds.com

    Very interesting, Hasn’t the 408chytac already made hits at this distance on large framed targets?
    I’d like to have seen them started at one mile on a man sized target and worked out from there to see the limit to what they can make on a man. That would be really interesting.

    shots to 2 miles has been made by Staff at Precision Shooting magazine ( now defunct) on much much smaller targets. Think man sized and one hit on a real ground hog with kit far less sophisticated.

    That can be read about over a few issues of PS Magazine and” Precision Shooting at 1,000 yards”
    and with rounds fired in stand length action no less.

    I will try to dig up the proper article and books and scan the pages and get them up as soon as I can for anyone interested.

    1. Brad

      Huh, left handed shooter. Waitaminute, is that a Makarov with right side controls? Oh okay, the photo has been flipped, it is a mirror image of a right handed shooter.

  3. Loren

    I watched a TV show where the presenter was trying to match a record distance sniper kill for a US service member. Something on the order of a mile. They used a 50 cal. and bed sheet targets set in a canyon. Never even came close to hitting the targets and in fact never knew where they hit. I always thought that was realistic. Much more so than the claim a Canadian? shot at that distance and hit 2 guys and the machine gun they were behind with 3 shots from a cold barrel.

    1. looserounds.com

      It was a history channel special. And the two guys trying to replicate the shot were doing so in conditions very much unlike the conditions of the original shot. The details of the shot made by the canadians jive with claims and made it plausible.

  4. Hillbilly

    A mile is actually fairly easy to do on a calm day even with a 308 Win/7.62X51.
    We used to do it for a break from serious training and just for bragging rights.
    We actually pushed out to 1800 and 1900 meters one day using both the M24 and Mk13 and at 6000 feet ASL and about 70 or so degrees they were both able to get hits at 1800 but at 1900 some rounds were impacting sideways. We never had that issue at a mile.
    I do know there is/was a varmint hunting club that gave shooters recognition for successful shots at long range and some were at very long range.

    1. looserounds.com

      I have been a long range shooter most of my adult life, and I have made a 1 mile shot using a 300 remington Ultra mag. And I have never found it “fairly easy to do on a calm day” . Unless its you are saying its easy as compared to trying to achieve orgasm by looking at hillary clinton or swim to Japan.

      1. Hillbilly

        Please note I did not say first round or second round hits. Anyone claiming first or second round hits at that range is talking out their 4th point of contact IMO. To clarify I meant 1-5 hits out of 20 or so rounds fired and by fairly calm I meant 1-3 MPH steady winds. Given those conditions I stand by my statement. Targets were a 40 inch steel E type painted white and on ground that allowed for easy spotting of misses.

      1. Hillbilly

        Some bullets just don’t handle the transition to subsonic very well. The 168 gr SMK was notorious for this out of a 308 Win.
        Out to about 800 or so depending on environmental conditions it’s a very accurate bullet, but at 1000 it was fairly common to see sideways impact on the target.
        I’ve had 6. 5 139 gr Scenars do the same tumbling at around 1400 yards shooting at 3500 ft ASL and about 75 degrees

  5. LSWCHP

    Long range for me is about 250m. I hunt in rough terrain, so shooting from an improvised field position at well camouflaged game in bad light with a pounding heart after climbing a mountain is how things usually pan out for me. It’s incumbent on me to make a clean kill, so I usually try to stalk much closer than that.

    1. looserounds.com

      A real shot in field conditions on living game is nothing to downplay. Most of people I have seen that claim to be long range shooters couldn’t do it. Once they get off the dead flat grassy KD range with a nice over heard shade with all their ballistics software, many of them could not do what you just described.

      1. LSWCHP

        Thanks mate, I appreciate the kinds words from a guy with your background.

        The “known distance” issue is a big thing for a hunter verus a target shooter on a flat range. I mainly use a 6.5×55 Swede on a 98 action zeroed at 200m. That gives me a maximum point blank range around 250m, so I can just hold dead on out to that range and have a very good chance of hitting the vital area if I do my bit. Outside 250m I’d have to start estimating and applying holdover and the probability of making a clean kill diminishes rapidly so I don’t do it.

        1. Hillbilly

          6.5X55 is my favorite cartridge and surprisingly capable at long range when used with Rl22 and 140 gr Berger VLD bullets. I’ve primarily used it in steel matches and F-class matches .
          Great little cartridge IMO.

          1. LSWCHP

            Me too!! It’s the best general purpose small and medium game cartridge ever made. Exactly on the sweet spot for superb external and terminal ballistic performance from those long projectiles, combined with moderate recoil. I don’t know anybody who’s ever shot paper or game with a Swede who would choose anything else.

            Factory loads are very mild to cater for all the old 96 Mausers that are out there, but I have a strong gun and I’ve experimented with handloads that are close to .270 performance with no problems. Generally though I shoot moderate loads because I like that “moderate recoil” thing.

      2. Kirk

        I’m a decent shot with a rifle and a pistol both, but there’s a damn reason I gravitated towards the machinegun for long-range work. A nine-to-fifteen round burst covers up for a lot of imprecision in your steady hold, and makes it that much more likely that you’re gonna hit something/somebody. Beaten zones are wonderful tools to behold, at range and when the soil is nice and dry–You can actually see the impact of each individual round, with the puffs of dust that come up when they hit.

        Sniper rifles are all well and good, but give me a tripod and a good MG team, and I’ll be happily knocking down targets all damn day. Sure, there’s a feeling of accomplishment when you watch one guy go down and stay down, and know that your skill put him there, but there’s a bit more “ooomph” to watching your gun teams dance fires across the terrain, and see that the enemy units are all down, and not moving. Plus, it’s kinda fun to watch the one or two guys that fate and circumstance immunized against bullets witness and realize that the rest of their element is DOA… And, they have nowhere else to go, before the next burst impacts.

  6. DSM

    Shooting at a grand on the golf course range had its troubles. The amount of prep to go into such a shot is mind boggling. That’s not to say I wouldn’t want to try it for myself.
    Alas, our local shooting spot tops at, compared to such a feat, an embarrassing 600yds. Fun to shoot with a service rifle at least.

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